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Scientists use sedation to free entangled whale

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[March 11, 2009]  PONCE INLET, Fla. (AP) -- Scientists used sedatives to free an endangered right whale entangled in rope off Florida's Atlantic Coast.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says it's the first time sedatives were used successfully to free an entangled whale.

The right whale was freed Friday near Ponce Inlet, south of Daytona Beach.

The whale was first sighted in January off Georgia. Officials removed some rope then, but the whale remained entangled. Scientist tried four more times, but the whale proved too evasive.

On Friday, they used sedation to calm it and successfully removed most of the remaining rope.

North Atlantic right whales are among the most endangered species with up to 400 remaining in the wild.

[Associated Press]

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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